PACK THIS -- NOT THAT!
Some tips and tricks prior to departure
LESS THAN TWO WEEKS until DEPARTURE. Are you ready?
Paris is only a few WEEKS away and the realization of a semester abroad is starting to hit you. The SMELL of macaroons is almost possible, but tasting one will not happen until you PACK!
PACK FOR ARRIVAL --2 Nights of Hostel Living
On arrival you will spend the first two nights at BVJ Opera Hostel in the heart of the city. Beautiful, great location, not practical for large suitcases! The rooms are at the top of a flight of stairs. You will not want to lug your things up and down. Securely store your suitcase on the ground floor and plan accordingly.
HEED THIS WARNING:
1. Pack a small carry-on that you bring with you or that you can quickly pull out of your suitcase (ie-your toiletry bag- soap/shampoo IS needed at the hostel)
2. Add only a change of clothes for the two nights and PACK a small towel!
3. Don't bring a lot of valuable jewelry or things.
4. Be sure to keep a copy of your passport/visa and have the equivalent of 200euros on hand
- Leave a copy of your Passport and visa with your parents.
- Keep several copies of your insurance info and who to contact if you need to.
- Bring copies of any Prescriptions for medicine or glasses/contacts (leave copies with your family in obvious places)
- Save your bank/credit/debit card hotline phone number (international) in case your card doesn't work or is stolen. (Know what to do in the first few hours of a theft...other than calling your parents due to the time zone difference.)
- Provide your family with the phone numbers to the Paris office and the US office.
- Extra charger and eventual adapter....
"WHAT ELSE?" You ask.
- Heavy winter coats and boots/shoes are not often needed as it rarely gets below 40F during the Spring semester BUT.....
- Rain coat/trench coat or umbrella and shoes or boots for wet conditions- some prefer light wool coats help to keep the moisture and damp humidity out as the city can be wet.
- No need for sheets or towels -but DON"T forget a small towel for the hostel!
- Toiletries, beyond what you would need for the first few weeks, are bulky. You can find just about everything there or discover something new that is just as good or better and it will cut down on weight in your baggage.
- Paper/notebooks etc... DO NOT bring. The paper size used in France is not the same so any folder, binder, notebook etc will be of no use to you. These are rather inexpensive in France and you will need less of them now.
- Bring FAVORITE STAPLES- ie: your favorite jeans, layering sweaters and shirts. Most students wish to quickly "blend" into the student environement by picking up inexpensive items found in trendy boutiques, thrift shops or fast fashion stores around the city. Most realize their "favorite outfit-statement piece" is out of place in Paris so they are glad to pick up items to "complete" an outfit. (Also remember that washing machines are 1/3 of the size of a US machine and dryers are very rare therefore students tend to wear a pair of pants or a sweater more than once before washing them etc..)
- Be careful packing shoes- cobblestones, lots of rain, LOTS of walking, lots of stairs tends to wear shoes out much differently than on a college campus. -Know that city life can take a toll on most shoes so bring only ones that you think will stand up to the onslaught and be prepared to see the cobbler to resole or repair if need be.
- GIFT for your host. Bring something small and that you can "share" with them. Often a book with pictures of your home, your college town or a place you know a lot about and like and want to "share" your experience and your story with them. This is a great icebreaker and it allows you to create a connection with them.
- Stick to One suitcase and a carry on that has enough for two nights and some travel toiletries for the hostel.
- I promise you, if you are hesitant about an article of clothing that you think you CAN"T live with out. Set it aside in a place easy to find and then on arrival if you think you still CAN"T live with out see if your parents will ship it to you. This is when the real test begins- is it worth the shipping?
- Also know that many students bring too much over and then are forced to pay steep baggage overage fees on their return that can reach 150-200$. Not something you want to do at the end of your stay.
- Email your parents on arrival....then....disconnect. Bloom where you are planted. Live in the here and now, home will be there when you go back. Promise!